When the Celtics beat the Cavs in Game 3 of the 2017 Eastern Conference finals, it was considered something akin to a miracle for Boston. The Celtics were huge underdogs in the series despite being the top seed in the conference. They had lost the first two games of the series at home, and virtually no one thought they had a chance to win the series. As expected, that win in Game 3 was all the Celtics ended up getting. Cleveland rebounded to win Game 4 at home, then ran the Celtics out of the building in Game 5 to clinch the series.
Fast forward a year, and the dynamics have changed considerably. The Celtics opened as underdogs in the series, but it was clear from the outset that they could hang with LeBron and Co. Tonight, the Celtics will take the court holding a 3-2 series lead, with a chance to earn their first trip to the Finals since 2010. (That happened to be the last year a LeBron-led team didn’t represent the East in the finals.)
A Boston win tonight, though, would be a pretty big upset. Sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com list the Cavs as 7-point betting favorites.
Here’s a look at the Celtics-Cavs Game 6 point spread and total, and the updated Celtics-Cavs series odds heading into Game 6.
Celtics vs. Cavs Game 6 Point Spread & Total
The point spread, total, and money line for Game 6 are as follows, via OddsShark.com. The spread is identical at the six sportsbooks OddsShark lists on its Celtics-Cavs betting page, but there’s some variance in the money line.
Point spread: Cavs by 7
Total (over-under): 202
Money line: The Celtics money line ranges from +270 (bet $100 to win $270) to +285 (bet $100 to win $285) at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. The Cavs money line ranges from -315 (bet $315 to win $100) to -340 (bet $340 to win $100).
Although Cleveland is coming off double-digit loss in Game 5, the Cavs are favored as heavily as they were in Game 4, when they were giving either 6.5 or 7 points, depending on the sportsbook. Cleveland has been a modest favorite in each game at home, and covered the spread both times with relative ease. The Celtics are 10-0 this postsesaon at home but a woeful 1-6 on the road, their lone win coming in Game 3 of their second-round series against Philadelphia. Cleveland has won seven straight at home after losing the opener of their first-round series against Indiana.
Celtics vs. Cavs Series Odds
The Celtics are modest -175 favorites (bet $175 to win $100) to win the series. The Cavs are +175 underdogs.(Bet $100 to win $175.)
Series odds have swung back and forth throughout the series, with the Cavs opening as favorites but money moving hard toward the Celtics after they took a 2-0 series lead, back toward the Cavs after they evened things up, then back toward the Celtics again after their Game 5 victory.
There are two reasons the Celtics are favored: 1. They only need to win one game, while the Cavs need to win two. 2. Given the way the Celtics have played at home, you can expect them to be favored in Game 7 if they lose tonight.
Boston was a modest home underdog in Game 1 and a pick-em in Game 2. The Celtics opened as slight home underdogs at some sportsbooks in Game 5, but ended up as 1.5-point favorites by game time, and covered the spread with ease in a 96-83 win.
Updated NBA Championship Odds
The odds for both conference finals series have moved around a lot since each series began. The Celtics, who opened as underdogs against the Cavs, are now slight favorites. The Warriors, who opened up as huge favorites against the Rockets, trail the series 3 games to 2 and are only the slightest of favorites to win the series.
One thing, though, hasn’t changed: Betting markets think the Western Conference champ is extremely likely to win the title, and the updated NBA championship odds reflect that reality.
Golden State, which continues to get enormous respect from bettors, is at +102 to win its third title in four years — close to even money despite being behind in the series. Houston, which can end the Warriors’ season with a Game 6 win in Oakland, is at +158. The Celtics (+900) and Cavs (+1250) are fairly big longshots.
If you’re bullish on the Cavs, you’ll want to get on that bandwagon now before those prices change considerably.